Medicinal Mushrooms – How Much Should I Take?


Medicinal Mushrooms – How Much Should I Take?

Medicinal mushrooms are packed with fungal glycans and other unique polysaccharides which are powerful antioxidants. They have been used for ages for stress relief, anti-ageing, mind boosting, immune strengthening. Other than a few psychedelic mushrooms, such as Psilocybin or “The Magic Mushroom,” most medicinal mushrooms are safe to consume. They can be a potent addition to your wellness regime.

But there are misconceptions about recommended dosages. Many producers give arbitrary dosages, like two teaspoons a day. Considering our uniqueness in body functioning and physiology, it’s not strange to wonder if such a broad dosage would be effective.

Here’s a look at what scientists have discovered about the effective dosage of medicinal mushrooms. We’ll also look at how the dosage relates to the potency of the mushroom extract. Finally, we’ll explain, as well as, give you an example to help you determine how much of a mushroom product you should take.

What scientists say about effective dosage

The main reason why anyone would consume medicinal mushroom products as a supplement is to benefit from its therapeutic effect.

Studies have shown that the therapeutic potential of medicinal mushroom products lies in the concentration of bioactive compounds in the product. For instance, various scientists have shown that there’s a strong link between the dosage and the immunological effects of medicinal mushroom products (1). Research is still ongoing regarding other medicinal benefits of mushrooms such as their brain-boosting abilities. The therapeutic effect, therefore, largely depends on consuming the correct amount of the bioactive compounds.

What Makes the Mushroom Extract Potent

We have already seen that it’s the bioactive compounds in medicinal mushroom products that make it potent. But, to enhance your understanding we’ll dig a little deeper.

The concentration of bioactive

Bioactive compounds in mushrooms often occur naturally as polysaccharides.

In the natural or raw form, mushroom products are indigestible to many people. Thus, it is important to first establish whether you are taking raw/non-extracted mushroom products or processed/extracted products. You may take an un-extracted form of a highly acclaimed mushroom product. But, since it’s indigestible, you’ll lose out on all its goodness or will have a minimal effect.

On the other hand, there are several extracted medicinal mushroom products which give no information on the concentration of bioactive compounds. Such products often have arbitrary dosage information (like two teaspoons a day). Thus, they provide no information about the product’s therapeutic potential.

High-quality products often specify the concentration of active compounds. Many also recommend specific amounts  in the dosage information. For instance, a product which recommends a dosage like 25-50mg/kg/day tells you more about how much you should take to get the desired therapeutic effect considering your body weight. Such products often have a better therapeutic effect and give you a better picture of what you need.

The type of bioactive

On the other hand, the type of bioactive compounds in a medicinal mushroom product also matters. They are also known as fungal glycans. Different fungal glycans have been found to have different effects on humans. For instance, scientists have identified T. fuciformis polysaccharide (TFPS) as the major bioactive component in an edible mushroom known as Tremella fuciformis, or “Yiner” in China. The glycan is an effective immunity booster, antitumor, anti-ageing, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, neuroprotector, and has other effects. (2) Another edible mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum, also known as “Lingzhi” in China or “Reishi” in Japan, is a highly acclaimed vitality-enhancer. The fungal glycans in Reishi are also one of the few non-hormonal drugs used for treating neurosis, and various kinds of myositis. (3)

Only high-quality medicinal mushroom producers offer more information on the type and concentration of bioactive compounds in the product. Such information is vital for your decision making. It helps you to determine which medicinal mushroom product to take based on its therapeutic potential.

Why does the dosage matter?

There’s overwhelming evidence to show that the concentration of bioactive compounds in a medicinal mushroom product influences its potency. However, the constitution and concentration of bioactive compounds in medicinal mushrooms vary with the cultivation conditions, the place of origin and extraction process. Reishi from Japan, for instance, may have different concentrations of glycans as compared to Reishi from Canada. Producers of medicinal mushroom products should, therefore, recommend dosage based on the concentration of the bioactive compounds in the product. It’s just like prescription drugs. Effectiveness relies on taking the right quantity of the active ingredients.

Thus, it is vital to complement the dosage with information about the concentration and the type of bioactive compounds available.

Unfortunately, many producers often leave out this information. They frequently talk about the extraction process (which is important). But, fail to give information about the bioactive compounds. You’ll find such information only on high-quality products.

An arbitrary dosage, like 2 teaspoons a day, on a medicinal mushroom product, without information on the concentration of bioactive, is misleading and downright absurd.

You’ll have no idea how much bioactive ingredients are in the teaspoon. Thus, no idea about the product’s therapeutic potential.

How much medicinal mushroom should you take

The amount of bioactive ingredients required varies with the health need, age, and body weight. When the producer of a medicinal mushroom provides information on the type and concentration of bioactive compounds, you can customize your purchase to your unique circumstances. Thus, the chances of a better therapeutic effect are higher. Unfortunately, as we mentioned earlier, many producers don’t provide this crucial information. Only producers of high-quality medicinal mushroom products do.

Dosages are also often backed by scientific evidence. For example, in one study, the optimal dose of mushroom bioactive for effective immunomodulation was found to be between 5 – 10 mg of beta-glucan/kg/day. Higher doses were found to trigger a reduction in the immunomodulation effect (4). Using these findings, an 80 kg person would need 400 – 800mg/day of the bioactive in the mushroom extract to experience significant therapeutic effects.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about doing lots of research or calculations (although we highly recommend it). Producers of high-quality medicinal mushroom extracts often recommend the correct dosages. The right information will help you to modify the dosage to suit your unique circumstances.  

In conclusion

Many commercial medicinal mushroom supplements contain arbitrary dosages. They have little information to support claims such as “1000 times more powerful.” Such claims are often marketing gimmicks to entice buyers. Other sources, such as this one from WebMD, give some information on how much Reishi mushroom you should take. But they leave out the vital aspect of bioactive compounds concentration.

Fortunately, now you know better. You can lay aside the misconceptions regarding the dosage of medicinal mushroom products.

High-quality products provide information on the type and content (as a percentage) of fungal glycans in the mushroom extract. Science has shown that the therapeutic effect is closely linked with the right dosage of bioactive compounds. High-quality medicinal mushroom products will give you this information, making it easier to determine a suitable quantity to take. On the contrary, many off-the-shelf “medicinal mushroom” products cannot support claims of effectiveness. Don’t waste your time or hard-earned dollars on low-quality, and unproven products. Look for medicinal mushroom products that provide the right kind of information to guide you on the correct quantities to take.  

References 1

  1.  Harada T, Miura N, Adachi Y, Nakajima M, Yadomae T, Ohno N. Effect of SCG, 1,3-b-D-Glucan from Sparassis Crispa on the Hematopoietic response in Cyclophosphamide Induced Leukopenic mice. Biol Pharm Bul 2002;25: 931-9
  • Carolyn J. Torkelson et. al. – Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Trametes versicolor (= Coriolus versicolor) in Women with Breast Cancer. ISRN Oncology, Volume 2012, Article ID 251632
  • Babineau TJ, Hackford A, Kenler A, Bistrian B, Forse RA, Fairchild PG, et al. A phase II multicenter double-blind ran- domized placebo-controlled study of three dosage of an immunomodulator (PGG-glucan) in high-risk surgical patients. Arch Surg 1994;129:1204-10.
  • Dalia Akramienė et. al. – Effects of b-glucans on the immune system. Medicina (Kaunas) 2007; 43(8)
  1. Yang, D., Liu, Y., and Zhang, L.,Tremella polysaccharide: The molecular mechanisms of its drug action. Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science Volume 163, 2019, Pages 383-421 link
  1. Zeng, P., Chen, Y., Zang, L., and Xing, M., Ganoderma lucidumpolysaccharide used for treating physical frailty in China. Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science Volume 163, 2019, Pages 179-219 Link
  1. Deng, G., et al. – A phase I/II trial of a polysaccharide extract from Grifola frondosa (Maitake mushroom) in breast cancer patients: Immunological effects. J. Canc. Res. Clin. Oncol., 135: 1215-1221

The Difference Between Chaga Extract and Raw Chaga Powder


The Difference Between Chaga Extract and Raw Chaga Powder

The health benefits of consuming the ancient mushroom – Chaga, have been proven beyond doubt. Yet, there is contention about which form of Chaga mushroom has maximum benefits in our bodies. Should you take raw mushroom products brewed in a cup of Chaga tea? Or would Chaga extract be better? What else should you consider before buying mushroom products? Here’s a quick look at the benefits of Chaga mushroom and the differences between Chaga extract and raw Chaga.


The Health Benefits of Chaga Mushroom

Our ancestors from Siberia and other cool parts of Eurasia consumed the orange inner core of the black mass. They had experienced the goodness of Chaga for centuries. Of course, they didn’t have sophisticated technology back then to decipher exactly what about the mushroom product was great. All they knew was that grated Chaga mushroom, brewed in a cup of tea, worked. And it worked pretty well.

Fast forward to the 21st Century and scientists have shown that Chaga mushroom does wonders for our health. It’s an amazing immune booster, it has been used to treat diabetes as well as heart disease.

Today the wonder mushroom is available on shelves across the country. You can take it as a tea or as a capsule supplement. Also, you can choose between pure Chaga or blended with other medicinal mushroom products.

Unfortunately, the average modern consumer has some lingering traits of our ancestors. Many people assume that, just like medicine, any health-product off the store shelf will straight away work wonders in our bodies. We will often pick and consume. Just like our ancestors.

But, there are unsettled matters concerning the wonder mushroom. For instance, in which form is the Chaga mushroom most effective? Is it the raw Chaga or Chaga extract? Also, what other factors should you consider when purchasing mushroom products?


To Extract or Not to Extract

The term extraction has for some time has been misconstrued to imply wanton stripping of important components found in Chaga mushrooms. But that is not the case. The health-giving components of Chaga are soluble in different solvents and can be perfectly preserved without alteration. Genuine Chaga extracts are obtained through proven solvent extraction methods (hot water, and in some cases ethanol). Through these processes, the bioactive elements in the mushroom are released into the solvent, concentrated and then isolated.

Genuine mushroom products sellers will not only provide details about the extraction process, but also a certificate of analysis (COA). Some of the information you may find on the certificate include terminology like “10:1 Extract.” This is not an indicator of the Chaga extract’s potency. Rather it’s a simple indication of the moisture level. 

Besides having a lower concentration of water, consuming Chaga extract is easier on our tummies and more effective. But, we must understand the biological makeup of our ancestors as well as that of the Chaga mushroom to grasp this.


Why Extract

Raw Chaga, like many other mushroom products, is covered by chitin. That’s a hard outer covering similar to what insects and crustaceans have. On average, a modern adult would take more than eight hours to break down chitin after eating it. Thus, most of us are unable to digest raw Chaga and absorb its health-giving components at all.

Earlier scientists thought that humans lacked an enzyme called chitinase which digests chitin in raw Chaga. However, recent studies show that humans have chitinase. The challenge is, in this part of the world (Western world) the enzyme has evolved into a dormant state. So, unlike our ancestors who regularly ate bugs, and therefore had active chitinase. We are unable to break down and absorb the goodness of raw Chaga.

Fortunately, science makes up for our deficiency in active chitinase. Extraction does the job for us. The process releases the bioactive elements in Chaga into a solvent. This enables concentration and isolation of the rich components into a much more potent and effective consumable mushroom product. Studies also show that extraction improves the antioxidant activity of Chaga.

So, when you consume Chaga extract, you by-pass the chitin barrier and also enhance the potency and concentration of the bioactive elements. 

Extraction Methods

The most common method is hot-water extraction. However, some mushroom products are processed through the more sophisticated ethanol extraction and some through ultrasonic extraction methods. These latter methods enable finer extraction and therefore produce more effective products. But they are complex processes and cannot be compared to sprinkling some raw Chaga powder in your favourite drink.

You stand a better chance of absorbing the goodness of Chaga mushroom, in higher doses and more effective form when you consume Chaga extract.

What else should you consider?

Apart from being less digestible, scientists have also discovered that the ingredients in raw Chaga mushroom begin to deteriorate after one year. On the other hand, extraction extends the period and nearly doubles the time. When you buy raw Chaga mushroom products it’s impossible to tell how old they are. However, genuine processors of Chaga extract will have stringent quality checks when receiving raw products and often avail this information.  The raw Chaga mushroom product you are about to take from the store shelf could have lost all its bioactive components, thus impotent.

To conclude on this, it is clear that Chaga extract is a better buy. When you purchase from genuine processors you will get facts about how much Chaga you are consuming. Also, you will know the extraction process and how it enhances the potency and effectiveness of the mushroom product. Many consumers of mushroom products are not aware of these facts about raw Chaga and Chaga extract. In fact, many will pay a premium price for raw Chaga and shun Chaga extract because of unfounded rumours and sometimes plain ignorance. But the truth is, when you take raw Chaga powder, you will get a minimum benefits compared to properly extracted Chaga

Lion’s Mane – Therapeutic Potential


Lion’s Mane – Therapeutic Potential

The Lion’s mane mushroom is a popular culinary ingredient in South-East Asia. It is also widely sought after due to its medicinal value.
It is a highly acclaimed nootropic or brain tonic. More precisely, studies have shown that the mushroom is effective in stimulating Nerve Growth Factor or NGF – a protein that plays a key role in the formation and regeneration of nerve cells. Thus, Lion’s mane could be the key to reversing the brain effects of ageing, as well as neurodegenerative disorders (such as Alzheimer’s).  Read on and find out more about how it works and the therapeutic potential of Lion’s mane mushroom supplements.


How does it work?

The Lion’s mane contains two unique classes of NGF triggering compounds – Hericenones and Erinacines. Once ingested, these compounds are carried through the bloodstream and can easily cross the blood-brain barrier. Once inside the brain, the Lion’s mane triggers the production of enzymes that release Nerve Growth Factor. The occurrence of NGF in the brain, in turn, stimulates formation, regeneration and repair of nerve cells. It relieves symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, dementia and Alzheimer’s. It also boosts neurotransmission thereby enhancing memory, learning, and mental alertness.

But that’s not all. The Lion’s Mane, like other medicinal mushrooms, has been found to contain high amounts of the fungal glycol beta-glucoxylan. It also contains other polysaccharides that are known for enhancing the immune system and decreasing tumour growth. Thus, it’s a three-in-one therapeutic mushroom.



As we mentioned earlier, the Lion’s mane mushroom is a popular culinary ingredient in parts of South-East Asia. Generations in that part of the world have consumed the fungi in its natural form for centuries. It’s not a surprise therefore that Dr Kawagishi, a Japanese scientist, was the first to identify the NGF properties in Lion’s mane mushroom back in 1991. Since then, the mushroom’s popularity has soared. Today, it’s available as in its natural form, or as an extracted supplement in powder or capsule form.


Therapeutic potential of Lion’s mane supplements

It’s hard to describe what makes an effective Lion’s mane supplement especially if you are looking for the NGF benefits. For starters, the natural compounds occurring in the fungus are complex and the pharmaco-kinetic-profile is hard to determine. This makes synthesis and clinical use difficult. Also, there’s no benchmark (or 100% pure reference material) of Lion’s mane compounds. Therefore, there’s no standardized way of determining the quantities of Hericenones and Erinacines available in a Lion’s mane supplement. 

Most Lion’s mane products in the market today are derived from mycelium grown on grains. Such products are often contaminated with grain starch during the production process. Since grain starch is also a polysaccharide, but with nil therapeutic potential, any reference to the product’s polysaccharide content could be misleading. However, Lion’s mane products which specify the percentage quantities of available Beta-D-glucans can be helpful when determining the therapeutic potential for those after the immune-boosting effects.


Here’s the bottom line.

There’s no doubt about the medicinal benefits of consuming Lion’s mane mushroom supplements. But it’s hard to determine a supplement’s brain boosting therapeutic potential. To obtain both the NGF and immunomodulation benefits of lion’s mane, we suggest that you consider products with a combined approach. Look for high-quality products that consist of two parts. One part would be an unfiltered lion’s mane with all its bioactive compounds including the Hericenones and Erinacines. The other part would be an extracted product in which the constitution of Beta-D-glucans has been determined.

How Medicinal Mushrooms Support the Immune System?


How Medicinal Mushrooms Support the Immune System?

As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc around the world, people are increasingly becoming desperate. Many would like to get back to some sort of normalcy but with no vaccine in sight, it’s a risk few are willing to take. There is an alternative that can help you to beat the virus as well as many other ailments and conditions – strengthening your immune system.

Several products and therapies that help you to boost the immune system naturally and healthily are available in stores. However, medicinal mushrooms have stood out. Mushrooms have been used by generations, especially in South-East Asia where they are a regular part of the diet, and proven effective. Only recently has modern science begun to unravel the wonders of these amazing and resilient fungi.

But what makes mushrooms stand out? How do they work? How do they support the immune system? And are there strategies you can adopt to maximize the boosting of your immunity?

What makes medicinal mushrooms stand out?

Although the history of medicinal benefits of mushrooms spans millennia, especially in the Eastern cultures, these ancient spores have only begun receiving scientific attention recently. Not so much is known about their constitution or how they work. However, science has been able to identify some bioactive compounds known as polysaccharides, and fungal glycans, such as beta-glucans, that play an essential role in the construction and maintenance of the structure of cells in our bodies.

These bioactive compounds are also effective antioxidants, nerve system repair agents, anti-ageing agents, glycemic regulators and a host of other benefits. Mushrooms are the wonder supplements that restore good health, reverse ageing and make you smarter!

To illustrate how the bioactive compounds in mushrooms support the immune system and general good health, we will first give you a brief description of the human immune system. Then we shall briefly describe the mechanics of the bioactive compounds and how they complement our immune systems.

The innate and adaptive immune system

The human immune system is complex. However, it can be considered as a two-step defence mechanism consisting of the innate and adaptive immune system. The innate system is the first line of defence. These are the natural mechanisms and features developed by the body, over time, to help us ward off infections. Organs such as the skin and features like mucus, protect the body from invasion by pathogens. In some cases, they trap and expel foreign substances. Also, processes such as coughing, sneezing, and chills are part of the innate immunity system. The same goes for responses such as inflammation as well as fever. Whenever you develop such symptoms, remember that your body has activated the first line of defence to protect you from an infection or pathogen and restore you to a healthy equilibrium.  

On the other hand, the adaptive immune system is a more specialized defence mechanism. You can call it a second-line of defence although the innate and adaptive immune systems work hand in hand. In the latter, the body secretes specialized cells (also known as antibodies) that are targeted towards a known pathogen and counter-attack it.

Mechanics of bioactive compounds in mushrooms

The innate immune system identifies infections through pattern-recognition receptors (PRR). These receptors recognize the molecular patterns of infection-bearing molecules. Polysaccharides and fungal glycans (including beta-glucans) in mushrooms help to build and maintain the body’s cell structure. But bioactive compounds in mushrooms are often large and can’t penetrate cells. Nonetheless, they attach themselves to the pattern-recognizing receptors on the cells. Therefore, the immune system recognizes bioactive compounds as “non-self molecules.” This triggers both the innate and adaptive immune responses.

Studies have shown that bioactive compounds in medicinal mushrooms can stimulate the production and enhance the activity of key innate immune system cells such as T cells, B cells, and macrophages. Concerning the adaptive defence system, bioactive compounds in medicinal mushrooms have been shown to promote the production of antibodies such as T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes and cytokines.

Medicinal mushrooms regulate the immune system

The human immune system is a complex defence system that is responsible for keeping you in good health. Studies show that as we age, the capability of our immune systems reduces. Thus, as you grow older, you become more susceptible to infections and ailments. This explains why older people, over 65 years, are more likely to contract and suffer from respiratory ailments such as COVID-19.

Modern science has revealed that medicinal mushrooms contain bioactive compounds that cannot only stimulate the immune system but also regulate it (immunomodulation). These compounds are effective in both young and old.

When you consume mushroom supplements, the bioactive compounds activate and enhance your body’s ability to fight off infections in two ways. First, it stimulates the production of immune cells. Second, it regulates immune responses like inflammation. For instance, some mushroom varieties can stimulate the production of T cells, B cells and antibodies. But they also regulate the production of cytokines. Cytokines are soluble proteins that act as intracellular mediators or messengers in an immune response. Cytokines can either be pro or anti-inflammatory. Thus, regulate the innate system’s inflammatory response.

When the infection level is high, mushrooms help the system to release pro-inflammatory cytokines, killing off the infection (innate defence). But, when an infection subsides, the bioactive compounds stimulate the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines as well as antibodies. Thus, paving the way for the antibodies (adaptive defence) to work more effectively.

Maximizing the mushrooms ability to support the immune system

It is important to combine medicinal mushrooms and other healthy practices to enhance the functioning of the immune system. The human immune system is complex. It relies on many aspects, (not just the mushroom supplements) to remain optimum. Some habits can inhibit the well-functioning of the system and may render the bioactive compounds in mushrooms ineffective. Habits like not getting adequate sleep, smoking, and excessive intake of alcohol can significantly impair the entire immune system. On the other hand, there are practices which, when combined with medicinal mushrooms, will profoundly boost the functioning of the immune system. Positive habits like getting enough sleep, eating foods rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly are great for your immune system and overall wellness.

To conclude

Medicinal mushrooms bolster the body’s immune system by stimulating the production of immune cells and regulating immune responses. They support both the innate immune system by making the body more sensitive and responsive to pathogens and other threats. Also, by regulating the innate system and stimulating the release of antibodies, mushrooms make the adaptive immune system more effective. Thus, medicinal mushrooms stand out as one of the best ways to boost your immune system.